A Bomb Is Not a Mother

Pope Francis has a penchant for using maternal imagery in reference to the Church, and true to his gift for holding up the beauties of the Church’s tradition to let them speak for themselves, he does so in ways that transcend any pietistic stereotypes.  Recently, he used this type of language to turn the language of [Read More…]

Abortion as Political Profit: the Unspoken Consensus

There is a timely yet potentially endangered bill making its way from the House to the Senate, intended, as its name suggests, to protect the pain-capable unborn past 20 weeks.  (It is not my purpose here to analyze the bill at length, but as an aside it is interesting to note that the rape and incest [Read More…]

Two Literary Perspectives on US Racism: Citizen by Claudia Rankine and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngoza Adichie

I vividly recall the autumn of 2008. I had just moved from the US to Canada to start my Master’s degree in Toronto. Eager to vote in my second US presidential election, I ordered my absentee ballot well in advance and set to work informing myself about the candidates and their stances on issues that [Read More…]

Forgiveness is Hell

The BBC World Service recently featured some striking coverage of responses to Wednesday’s shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, particularly from within the church community itself.  I was especially amazed by one attendee of a prayer vigil for the victims (speaking about 32 1/2 minutes into this radio program) who said of Dylann [Read More…]

Two Wrongs (or, why we don’t have to be Charlie to oppose violence)

In response to a question from a French journalist on the plane from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, Pope Francis said something that may sound shocking to those of us from liberal societies.  I’m using the word “liberal” here in a classical sense; that is, not merely in reference to the political left, but to the [Read More…]

The Tears of the Infant Jesus

The word “solemn” has a range of meaning that borders on the paradoxical.  Most commonly, outside of church parlance, it’s synonymous with somber and serious.  In a liturgical context, however, it approaches the opposite meaning: the more solemn a feast day, the more festive and celebratory.  There is a logical connection here in terms of the weight [Read More…]

Praying with Evil News

Last month, I was sent an article from The Jesuit Post that has changed the way I read the news.  In it, Jason Downer, SJ suggests seeking ways to respond to violence creatively and prayerfully, resisting the temptation to tune out tragedy as a sort of coping mechanism, or as he puts it, turning towards rather [Read More…]

On Not Having Answers: an Exercise in Paralysis

I am troubled by all violence. I said this once to an Iraqi priest I had come to know and admire, and it provoked a look – almost with a start – of something resonating to the core.  I mention this not to suggest in any way that I can presume to speak for him [Read More…]